Zapping headaches

NHS England has announced it will fund a device that can help manage cluster headaches, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan’s commitment to put cutting-edge treatment at the heart of healthcare.

The handheld device is placed on the neck to stimulate the vagus nerve and uses small levels of electric currents to disrupt pain signals and help relieve cluster headaches and severe attacks of pain.

Around 66,000 people in the UK experience cluster headaches and it is hoped the device will treat one in 20 who do not respond to traditional treatments, such as prescription of triptans, oxygen or anticonvulsants.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “Innovative technologies like this could not only alleviate painful symptoms but could empower patients to claim back their ordinary daily lives.”

The Migraine Trust’s head of support services Susan Haydon welcomed the new treatment option as “a very positive step”.

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